March 1, 2016

Guest Post from Kathy Zucker, Panelist, Speak Up In Your Community Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference

Taking risks. Speaking up. Sharing information. What do all of these things have in common? Conversation.

Every single person wants to be seen. To be heard. To have their words validated. Every one. And often? Nobody is listening.

When you are a person who listens to others, you are instantly a person of interest. That is it. You do not have to be superbly talented. The best writer. Photographer. Actor. All you have to do? Is talk to people. Well, and be genuinely interested in them.

Kathy Zucker - Panelist, Speak Up in Your Community Panel
Kathy Zucker – Panelist, Speak Up in Your Community Panel

Every time I talk to someone – and I talk to everyone – I learn something new. It is never something I expect. But just like bargain hunting in a department store, sooner or later you find a dark corner of a display that everyone has overlooked and uncover a hidden treasure.

Listening takes practice. I have made mistakes over and over again as I have learned how to take part in discussions. Own your mistakes. Apologize for errors. Learn how to avoid repeating them. And then move on. Every time I get involved in conversations on national and local levels, I learn more about myself. Another bonus? I get to see how amazing people handle themselves under pressure. These are people I admire. Respect. And that is how I identify people I want to be friends with.

Is it scary to start a conversation? Absolutely yes. I never know how someone will receive my thoughts, particularly the risky ones. Sometimes I go too far, and people let me know right away. But I would a million times rather risk going too far than playing things safe, especially if my heart is screaming at me to take a chance. Because the safe route? Is actually unsafe.

How can something safe be unsafe? Schools and authority figures teach us from a young age to follow a well-trodden path toward success. Study hard. Get good grades and test scores. Go to college. Get a job. But here is the hidden danger of the safe route. Everybody is pursuing the same thing. The safe route is obvious. It practically has neon lights flashing above it. And when something is obvious, that means a crowd is headed toward an entry door that can admit only a few.

So how can you be successful? By doing something different, or being the first. I am not the best mom. The best writer. The best anything, really. What am I? Someone who sees strategy five, ten and twenty years into the future. Everything I do showcases the choices I make that reflect my ability in strategic planning. From the place where I choose to raise my family to the companies I partner with, every choice reflects what I want to stand for long-term. Even – and especially – this book is part of my plan. What is my goal? I am not looking to get rich. The book is being published under an imprint belonging to one of my companies. My goal? Is to have something I can point to when people ask what I have been doing during the time since I left my full-time corporate job. Now every time someone asks that question? My response will be, read the book.

There are five members of my family. Each one has different skills. Goals. My children are still very young. They are unformed. Zucker_SpeakUp_Conversation-2I am beginning to see the outlines of what my older children will be as adults. I am learning who they are as people at the same time as the entire world is learning. How is this happening? Through the real time social media posts that I create every day showcasing my five family members.

Every time I post a picture and story about a member of my family, I am opening the door to opportunities. How am I doing that? By telling people what my kid is interested in, I am giving them a blueprint for what will work for that individual. When I posted a picture drawn by my oldest child, book editors reached out asking if she is interested in collaborating to illustrate future projects.

Each time I share a story that tears my heart apart, people feel connected to my family. To an individual child. To the family as a whole. And when people feel a deep connection? They search for ways to help us in small and large ways.

These connections are a two way street. When people are kind to my family, they own a tiny piece of my heart. So when they send congratulations on a milestone? I thank them for their friendship. I am extremely busy. Everyone knows this. But in the midst of scrolling down the ever-increasing volume of my timelines, posts jump out at me. Birthdays. Car accidents. Travel pictures. Whenever I see something that tugs at my heart, I like or comment on it. And each like? Is an invitation to start a conversation. Often, I see the same names pop up on instant messenger. And then? We open our hearts to each other.

I am grateful every day that I took an unconventional path. Has it been difficult? Poorly paid? Yes and yes. But while I may not have the bank balance I might have had if I had stayed in a corporate job, I have something far more valuable – a wide network of friends who have answers for all of my questions. And if you share information and start conversations? You can have the same.

 

I look forward to meeting you at the Speak Up Women Conference on March 5th at the United Nations and hearing about your experience!

 

The above excerpt is a chapter of the forthcoming book, Five: How a Family Can Create a Career, scheduled to be published in April 2016 by the Metro Media Network, a division of the Metro Moms Network, LLC ®. You can learn more at kathyzucker.com/five.


B4A7320-1200x1800.jpg

February 22, 2016

Guest Post from Karen Taylor Bass, Panelist, How to Speak Up & What’s Holding You Back Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference

 

The very thing we are forced to hide, is the very thing that makes us powerful. Words. Voice. Speaking. Confidence. Shine. Have you ever thought about the power you yield when you speak up? Speaking up is very scary, but super liberating when you discover your voice.

_B4A7320

 

I was born in Jamaica, the beautiful island. At a tender age, I remember my mother telling me that children should be seen and not heard. That phrase stayed with me, lingered and festered into a sore. All I can remember is that every time we had company, I wanted to perform for them like all kids. You know – talk, engage, sing, dance, act a fool – simply be heard and seen. But, I couldn’t.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I developed into a meek, insecure, quiet and shy little girl through young adulthood. I grew up uncertain of my voice, gift and power. That was not my mother’s intention, but her mom had probably done the same to her. This was simply generational loving. Oh boy, lucky me.

When I arrived at high school, there was something of an intervention from God via my English teacher. Ms. Borusso challenged me in AP (Advance Placement) English to tap into my power, my voice and speak up. My teacher said, “I want you to learn and embrace your power. I want you to join the drama club, observe and watch other people tap into their power. Then I want you to unleash your emotions on paper by journaling, and lastly, start looking into the mirror speak kindly to yourself.” Needless to say, I didn’t take all of Ms. Borusso’s advice, but I did start journaling. Baby steps.

When I arrived on my college campus, I was still shy, but making a bold move to cut my long hair into a bob gave me an injection of confidence. My haircut was the first decision I made sans my mother’s approval. It’s funny how a small tweak within can become a personal statement. I started to realize that speaking up and advocating for self did not just mean words. Speaking up is looking within and having the guts to take action, pivot and create a movement. I joined the newspaper and TV club, radio station, and the black student organization. Oh yeah, I co-starred in a school production.

It was the culmination of several moments and years at college that I decided that being heard and speaking up was a life and death matter. I truly wanted to be heard (globally) and impact others to get their message out. Becoming a media publicist, author and speaker has allowed me to create, write, communicate and leverage the careers of many A-listers, executives, entrepreneurs and small business owners. The biggest lesson I’ve learned to date is life always gives you clues. Take the time to listen, sit still, journal, reflect and discover what’s holding you back from speaking up.

  

Tips to Speaking up and finding your authentic voice:

  • Time matters. Take daily moments to identify your magic and voice.
  • Keep your ears to the ground. It’s always better to listen and learn from others. People will always show and tell you who they are.
  • Everyone has an opinion. Listen to what others have to say about you, but never allow others to define you.
  • Do something radical. Shake up your image to build inner confidence.
  • Open your mouth. You are an expert, start talking up self and build confidence.
  • Baby steps. Set realistic goals and commit to them for 30 days, 45, 60, 90 and so forth.

 

Karen Taylor Bass is a highly sought after PR Expert, speaker, media coach, and best-selling author. Follow her on Twitter @thebrandnewmom and www.karentaylorbass.com.

I look forward to meeting you at the Speak Up Women Conference on March 5th at the United Nations and hearing about your experience!


corso-cherie-Headshot.jpg

February 8, 2016

Meet Cherie Corso, a Panelist on the Speak Up in Business Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference happening at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016!

Cherie Corso is not only a proud wife, mother, author, Reiki master, and environmentalist, and lifestyle blogger, but she is a well-known parenting expert and TV personality you may have seen on Fox and FriendsDoctor Oz, or Good Morning America. 

As a co-author of the children’s book, Crazy Ponytails, with her daughter Julia, she encourages children to persevere through challenges to see their special talents and as a mentor lecturer at Fordham University she calls upon years of industry knowledge to invest in the next generation of women leaders and entrepreneurs.

Cherie recently fused all of her knowledge from top designers and creators in the fashion world and chemical knowledge to successfully relaunch her organic skincare line, G2 Organics, where all of the products are not only 100% organic, but are made with only the highest grade ingredients and raw botanicals. This line is the answer for anyone looking for the best non-toxic products for the whole family.

Cherie Corso - Panelist, Speak Up in Business Panel
Cherie Corso – Panelist, Speak Up in Business Panel

G2 Organics has been named “Best Organic Nail Polish Remover” by Marie Claire Magazine, received the “That’s so Green Divas” award by The Green Divas, and been recognized as top editor picks by Glamour Magazine, Ebony, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

In everything she does, she relies on her creative real-time experience to make sure that her deep-rooted beliefs on balance, family, health, and beauty at the forefront. You can learn more about Cherie and G2 Organics by visiting g2organics.com or “Word on the Street” at cheriecorso.com.

 

Join Cherie as she shares her insights
during this important panel about
Speak Up in Business
at this amazing inaugural event!

For more about speaking up, watch
this video of our founder, Jennifer S. Wilkov, talk about
why it is so important to speak up and
the impact you can make when you do.

Go to www.SpeakUpWomen.com to learn more and
to register to attend the Speak Up Women Conference
at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016